Emma River – Flowers in my Hair

Emma River – Flowers in my Hair

Emma River – Flowers in my Hair

Emma River – Flowers in my Hair



SONG TITLE: Flowers in my Hair


ALBUM TITLE: Flowers in my Hair


RELEASE DATE: June 2nd, 2021


GENRE: Singer/Songwriter, Folk















I am a Norwegian singer/songwriter/folk artist based in Los Angeles, CA. I started singing and playing piano when I was six years old and was very engaged in the cultural life in Røyken, Norway where I grew up.
I write and co-produce my own songs, and I have fallen in love with the singer/songwriter, soothing genre. I am also a worship leader in the gospel church “California Worship Center”, where I have performed with and for artists such as Stevie Wonder, Tasha Cobbs, Brian Courtney Wilson, and Robert Glasper. My big passion is vocal production as well as performing. My single “I Will Be Waiting” was played on NRK radio in Norway, December 2016.
At the age of 17, I was the conductor of the local youth choir “Flambeaux”, based on my musical skills and talent in hearing and creating harmonies. In 2010 I was awarded the Cultural Scholarship in Røyken (Norway) because of my cultural achievements and engagements in the local community. I also lived a year in London where I took voice lessons and worked on my music.
After graduating from Berklee College of Music in 2015 I moved to Los Angeles where I am now pursuing a career as a singer/songwriter and performer.



I woke up sweating in the dead cold night
No, I can never seem to shake the dreams
I keep on having when I’m wide-awake
So I never wanna go to sleep
Dreams of being trapped inside my head
Emptiness that never goes away
Cast a light and help me find a way
Find a way
Will you be there to meet me at the edge of everything?


Where I can lay me down and see
The sunrise in the fields
With flowers in my hair
I read of a plane crashing the other day
Though it was 20, 000 miles away
I started crying when I read the names
And I remember I was thinking how
In the blink of an eye everything can change
Emptiness that never goes away
Cast a light and help me find a way
Find a way
Will you be there to meet me at the edge of everything?
Where I can lay me down and see
The sunrise in the fields Sky meets the earth
My soul will be free
In the place where my loved ones will be waiting for me
Where I can lay me down and see
The sunrise in the fields
With flowers in my hair


Will you be there to meet me at the edge of everything?
Where I can lay me down and see the sunrise in the fields
Sky meets the earth
My soul will be free
In the place where my loved ones will be waiting for me
Where I can lay me down and see
The sunrise in the fields
With flowers in my hair



Tell us your understanding and the importance of a vocal melody.
The melody to me is what drives the song and what people often remember after hearing the song. When I write songs I always make sure to get a good melody, because it is a part of telling the story. If I have good chords but an unsatisfying melody I usually go back and make the melody better. Also, chords can be very simple but you can create 10,000 different melodies on top of them and they will all be totally different songs.


Elaborate on your recording experience.
I have recorded for some years now, and I really love the process. I recorded my own song for the first time when I was 19 years old. Shortly after, I started at Berklee College of Music and recording became something I did very often, sometimes weekly or even more. I became comfortable with the studio experience and I also got familiar with all the terms and what I should ask for when I was missing something sonically etc. You also learn to be very clear, flexible and to work with all kinds of people. I of course had some bad experiences too, where the producer/engineer didn’t really know what they wanted and it all ended up being a very long session. Now after graduating I record mostly at home. I have also recorded vocals for a songwriting company, and I also get asked to do backgrounds and vocal arrangements for other artists/composers.


Tell us what you enjoy most in the music-making process.
I tend to be slow with writing lyrics, so I think my favorite part is writing the melody and recording all the vocals. Once the lyrics are done I also really enjoy making the melody a little different for each verse and tailoring it to the chords and rhythms. The production part is also a very creative portion of the process, and it is fascinating how ideas and musical elements just pop into your head when you are concentrated, listening, and you forget how much time has passed by.


Tell us how you differentiate a good song from a bad song.
For me, I think it is important that the lyrics match the vibe of the song. Also, if the instruments are kind of “everywhere” and not working together (rhythmically or in terms of arrangement), then I think that would throw me off. From my own experience when I write my songs I find it hard to complete a song if I don’t think the lyrics are flowing nicely. Sometimes I have to go back and redo all the lyrics before I can start on the production.


Discuss the uniqueness of your music.
I focus a lot on vocal harmonies and backgrounds. I grew up singing in many choirs, so harmonies have always been something I am passionate about and that comes easily to me. My voice has a “light” texture to it, smooth, and I tend to incorporate riffs and embellishments. Other people have claimed that I have a “voice of an angel”, ha-ha. More music theory-wise – I like interesting chords that have tensions in them and that can reminisce of neo-soul chords. Neo-soul/jazz textures are very appealing to me, and I enjoyed hearing and learning about them when I was studying in college (Berklee College of Music).


Tell us how you research the sounds that work perfectly with your vocal.
I think I should first start talking about my influences and whom I listened to growing up. When I was young I would listen to a lot of RnB/pop/gospel music. My biggest vocal idol was probably Mariah Carey, and I think that is where I got into all the vocal riffing. Other artists I listened to were Whitney Houston, Stevie Wonder, Sting, Celine Dion, and John Legend. Now I am still very attracted to those kinds of artists, but personally, I am now going more towards singer/songwriter and folk style. In my music and voice, you can still hear that I have soul influences, and that comes from the music in my upbringing. When I think about instrumentation for my song I sometimes listen to other similar artists to see how big or small the instrumentation they use for their song is, and when getting to the mixing section; how dry or wet their vocals are mixed.
In college, I was very inspired by all the different music I heard around me and I wanted to try out everything. Now- a few years after graduating, I feel that I have stripped back some of those influences and gotten to the core of what is representing Emma River. Lighter textures, guitar, piano, strings, melodically pretty, and heavy vocal emphasis is now what resonates with me.


Let us know your opinion on vocal training.
I think this is very important. Having worked as a vocal teacher and vocal coach I know the importance of getting a good foundation for your vocal journey and vocal health. I started with voice lessons in high school (I went to music magnet high school), and I had classical music training. My teacher was a former opera singer and she trained me classically although I was still doing contemporary music. Classical training is great to maintain a long career in the music business, and you can of course add on with more contemporary training after getting the basics. Now after having had years of training I still check in with my other “voice friends” and we discuss vocal techniques or ask each other questions about our own technique.


Explain how you prepare for a recording session.
Nowadays I record mostly at home, and I have a kind of “ritual” before I start recording. I warm up my voice, I make some tea and I wear comfortable clothes. I find the experience very peaceful, and by doing the “ritual” first, I am making my voice and my body ready for the session. I do the lead vocals first, and then I do the background vocals, which is for me like putting the cherry on the top of the sundae. I have so much fun with that. I also record piano/keyboard on my songs, and that tends to be more of an “at the moment” recording, where my co-producer and I find a nice arrangement and hooks while we are creating the track.


Discuss what you know about the present music industry.
The present music industry is very much DIY, and “everyone” is an independent artist. It is no longer the process that you have to be picked up by a record company, or at least not until you have gotten big by yourself and then need help from a bigger crew. I recently saw a meme about what current artists have to do… You have to be the music creator, businessperson, graphic designer, video creator, marketing person, playlist submitter, and more. It can be very overwhelming, and I think that non-music people don’t realize how much work is behind each and every song you release. What is good is that video content and graphic design tools are very easy to learn, and there are plenty of apps and websites to help you create all this stuff. I would say it is more encouraging to “make it” now than twenty years ago because the independent artists’ game is so strong. Twenty years ago, if you didn’t get discovered in your 20’s you were probably more likely to give up because no record company had discovered you yet.


Tell us what to expect from you in the next ten years.
I will be releasing some more singles, hopefully, an EP and an album (or two), and I will be busy going on tour and playing at festivals. I also want to be a part of a touring worship team and do Christian music. I am passionate about a lot of things, but I am hoping that my schedule will be 90% music-driven. Hopefully, I will also have a great home music studio and keep writing with my husband, Esteban Obando, and also co-writing with other artists.


Let us know your opinion on ‘Doing It Yourself’ and signing to a record label.
I believe that it is encouraging to try to make your own career from scratch. If you do it yourself you have 100% control over the process, which can be very good. I’ve seen other people going through several ups and downs when signed to a label or a marketing team. Sometimes they don’t feel like they are heard or that what they do/are told to do is all the way true to themselves. When your career does take off I do think that a mixture is good. It can be overwhelming doing everything yourself, and if you are at a certain point in your career where you have to book several shows and international shows, etc., you do need help! I think it is all relative to where in your career you are, and what works for you and your art!


Let us know if you prefer new school music to old school music.
Definitely a mix of both! Some “trends” in newer music don’t hit home for me, so sometimes I tend to look more back than ahead in terms of finding inspiration. I love discovering new artists, in fact – listening to other artists and going to concerts is my biggest inspiration and what makes me want to write new material. But on a daily basis, I do listen to both new and old music.


Tell us what you consider in a hit song.
A hit song is a song that is super memorable, only takes 1 time listening through before you have it stuck in your head. A hit song is also a song that many people know, and that will be remembered for a long time. I think the memorable part in a hit song can be either a melodic hook or a riff – either vocally or played by another instrument.


Discuss your memorable moment.
When I was 17-18 years old, my choir (that I was conducting), had a concert with a Norwegian gospel choir (HIM Hearts in motion). They were a professional choir and my choir was a local teen choir that did mostly pop and gospel songs. The concert we had with HIM was so special to me because together we created this magical performance where I felt something different while performing. I was so into the music, the piano player was amazing, and the sound of all of us was so uplifting. I am a Christian, and I felt like this show was a very spiritual moment for me. That is why I love gospel music so much; it moves me, and it gives me a lot of energy and joy.


Discuss your music career.
When moving to Los Angeles in 2015 it was my first time living the artist life 100%. I had to figure out how to make money as well as pursuing my artistry, or more so to be able to pursue my artistry. I quickly noticed that the business is a lot about ‘who you know,’ and just making yourself visible. A lot of people from my college also ended up moving to Los Angeles, so I felt very fortunate that I had a community here. The first couple of years it was a lot of trial and error and also figuring out who I was as an artist. The constant “struggle” was very difficult and I feel like that got in the way of being creative. Now, a few years later, I am much more relaxed and I feel that I have finally found the identity of Emma River, and I have found a great writing partner, an amazing mixer and mastering engineer, and things are flowing very nicely. I believe it is very common to get distracted and confused in the beginning, and it is when you start being true to yourself and your own musical identity that you really excel. In the past years, I have released more music, and I am very excited to keep releasing new singles and building my career, and sharing my music with the world.


Elaborate on the song.
The song was written two years ago. My writing partner, and now husband- Esteban Obando, and I had a “writing camp”, where we wrote around eight songs in a short period of time. From that batch, we chose a few that we decided to produce further. Both “Blue Skies” and “Marble” that I have previously released are also from that batch. “Flowers in my Hair” was produced one and a half years ago, but we decided to re-produce it in 2020. I felt that I had grown into a different artist since the first production and I wanted it to sound a little different. I would say that the style of “Flowers in my Hair” (singer/songwriter, folk, acoustic), is very much who I am as an artist. Esteban and I recorded and produced everything in our apartment, in our “home studio”. He recorded the guitars, and I recorded the keys/pads and vocals. For this song, I wanted to have a string arrangement, so I wrote that, with a little help from Esteban. Our friend, Mindia Luo came over to record the cello, and our friend Tim Reynolds recorded the violin remotely. That is pretty much it in terms of instrumentation. When the song was done we sent it off to our friend Matthew Sim for mixing and mastering, and then it was done! The lyrics of this song are about the questions you have about the afterlife and that you hope to be with your loved ones. To me, it is a philosophical song but also a song about the beauty of life, and cherishing life, and loving people.


Elaborate on your artist’s name and the title of the album.
The first name of my artist name came about ten years ago now. I was living in London and I was ordering coffee. My real name is very Norwegian and I had to spell it every time for the barista, so that day I decided to go with a different name. I had just watched the movie “Notting Hill”, and the main character’s name is Anna. When I ordered I said “Anna”, but I guess the barista heard wrong. When my coffee was ready I heard “Coffee for Emma?”. I looked around but figured that she meant me. Ha-ha. So from then on my order name was Emma. River is actually a portion of my Norwegian last name translated. Elverhøi= Elv, can mean river. So there you go: Coffee name + Last name translated.
In terms of the title of the album, “Flowers in my Hair” is just a single, so I guess the name of the album is the same. The title is the last line of the chorus. It is an image of me being taken care of and being in a beautiful place where it is peaceful. It is also an image of being brought back to childhood and something comforting.


Share your press release and review with us.
‘Flowers in my Hair’ is a medium-tempo song with a light folky acoustic vibe, which also features a lush string arrangement. The song is filled with rich and pure vocal layers reminiscent of The Staves, which is my staple. The bridge strips everything bare and then lifts you upwards into the last chorus with a climactic build-up, crashing into a harmony-filled final chorus that is both uplifting and otherworldly. The lyrics explore themes of contemplating your own mortality and hoping that you will be together with your loved ones in the afterlife. A little about me: I am a Norwegian singer/songwriter based in Los Angeles, and this is my 4th single. I have been described as a singer with “an angelic voice”, and a “master of harmonies”.



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